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Russia Says Belarus Sanctions 'Counterproductive'

February 01, 2011

Russia has criticized as "counterproductive" sanctions imposed on Belarus by the European Union and United States after December’s crackdown on post-election opposition protesters.

The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement describing the sanctions as unhelpful and politically motivated.

The European Union and the United States this week announced a fresh round of financial and travel sanctions against the Belarusian government in response to the authorities' violent crackdown on demonstrators and other alleged rights abuses in the wake of December's presidential election.

More than 600 people were arrested during the mass rally in Minsk, including seven of nine presidential candidates running against Lukashenka.

Travel Ban Affects Nearly 160

European Union foreign ministers agreed to impose visa bans and freeze the assets of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and nearly 160 other top-ranking Belarus officials during a meeting in Brussels on January 31.

That group includes individuals who were targeted in previous sanctions as well as many new additions. Lukashenka's two sons, Viktor and Dmitry, are among those named, as is the Belarusian defense minister, Yury Zhadobin.

The EU foreign ministers indicated that more names might be added, depending on Minsk's future behavior.

Official results said the man described as "Europe's last dictator" won by nearly 80 percent of the vote, amid allegations of widespread fraud.

compiled from agency reports


Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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